It is also known as the Key of the Nile, representing the union of Isis and Osiris. It is said that this mystic union would initiate the annual flooding of the Nile, providing Egypt with her various means to survive. The meaning of the ankh as womb, thus fertility and reproduction, is well-illustrated in this particular legend.
Found widely in Egyptian art, the ankh has come to symbolize life after death. Originally an Egyptian hieroglyphic representing the womb with its looped top, its meaning is related to matters concerning life and death, or rather, Eternal Life ("Nem Ankh"). In art, especially that depicting funeral ceremonies, their gods and goddesses are shown clutching the ankh by its loop as if it were a key. In this manner, it is believed that the ankh would open the gates of death on to immortality.